Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Love Affair With Food

(image curtesy of Ben & Jerry'

I recently found out that the local 7-11 store near my place carries Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and ever since then I’ve been getting a pint a week from them. Unfortunately, they don’t come cheap. A 1-pint tub of Ben & Jerry’s cost about RM 24 compared to a local brand costing under RM 10. However, I gladly pay the premium just to get my hands on what I always believed to be the best ice cream on the face of the planet. B&J’s ice cream are so much more flavorful than the local ice creams that each bite is just an orgasm of taste that’s hard to resist. They also have much more imaginative flavors than your average local ice cream.

B&J’s were the only ice cream that I used to eat during my stay in the States. When I came back, I tried to find a place that carries them but for the longest time, I could only find them very rarely. Even when I did find them, it would be just a few tubs of plain flavored tubs of chocolate or vanilla which didn’t seem worth buying since there were tons of cheaper chocolate or vanilla ice cream. The 7-11 store that I’m buying them from now carries “Cherry Garcia”, “Chubby Hubby”, “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” & “Chocolate Fudge Brownie” flavors that I don’t remember having before. I have to say that my current favorite flavor is “Chubby Hubby” but unfortunately for me they really just fly off the ice cream section every time fresh stocks come in. I think I have a rival in my quest to get a tub of “Chubby Hubby”

Finding a supply of B&J’s ice cream again reminded me of all the foods that I missed from the time I was living in the States. I guess that I could try to recreate some of them locally but I wonder if they would be the same. I thought that for today’s entry, since I don’t really have anything more interesting to write about, I’ll list some of my favorite foods that I missed.

BTW ... I’m not telling which 7-11 store carries B&J just in case mine is the only one who carries them. Don’t need more competition for the ice creams.

Toasted Garlic Bagels

Of all the food I had in Madison, this is the one that I missed the most. I used to go to this bagel shop just across from Randall Stadium at the corner of Regent St and Monroe St every chance I get and buy them by the dozen. I never had one before I came to the US and I instantly fell in love with it the first time I had one. I remembered that the shop carried a wide variety of types but my favorite was garlic with garlic flavored cream cheese. Having garlic breath for the rest of the day was worth each warm toasted slice although I guess that it didn’t really endear me to non-garlic eaters. Unfortunately for me, bagels are almost unknown here and I’ve only found them again once a few years back in a local sandwich food chain that have since stopped operating. Someone told me that I could get frozen bagels flown in from US from a shop in Ampang that specializes in food for the expatriate population on Ambassador’s Row there but I have not been able to track down the place till today.

Jelly Filled Doughnuts

For some strange reason, I never liked jelly filled doughnuts before I went to the States. I guess it was because they get too messy to eat compared to powders or glazed doughnuts. My first Wisconsin winter quickly change that for me. There was a doughnuts shop about 2 blocks away from where I stayed and they would have freshly baked jelly filled doughnuts and something they call “bear claws” at the start of almost every hour of the day. They usually use either apple, blueberries or strawberries as fillings but sometimes they would go wild and have something like apricot or peach instead. I remember that the smell of freshly baked doughnuts would waft into my room at the middle of a cold winter’s night and immediately get my stomach juices flowing. To this day, I would always remember biting into a freshly baked peach bear claw as one of the best things about winters in Madison.

Cajun Seafood Gumbo

I’m a big fan of spicy food and the closest that I got to real American spicy food was either Cajun or Tex-Mex cooking. While I had both types of restaurants close to where I lived, I found myself attracted more to Cajun cooking than Tex-Mex and more to seafood gumbo than other Cajun dishes. There was this deli about 2 blocks from my apartment that served the best seafood gumbo I ever head. The owners were very friendly to me and even walked me through all the different types of Cajun dishes when I first came to their shop. Needless to say that I became fast friends with them to the point that I could ask them to cook up a special extra spicy batch of seafood gumbo on the days that I would go there for dinner. For the 3 years I was in Madison, their seafood gumbo was one of my favorite comfort food. I remember begging them for their gumbo recipe before I left to come back to Malaysia but they laughingly told me that they don’t need the competition if they decide to expand to this side of the world.

Chicago-style deep dish pizza

I have yet to find any place in Malaysia that has this style of pizza. The one that I remember most fondly was the spinach – garlic – cheese deep dish pizza that they used to sell at a small Italian family owned restaurant a few blocks away from where I used to stay in Madison. They made the pizza about the size of a dinner plate and was at least 3 inches deep. A whole pie would usually last me about a day if I don’t go crazy and finish it in one sitting. The thing was that it actually tasted better served cold the day after an overnight in the refrigerator. My favorite college breakfast was a cold slice of deep dish pizza bought the day before with black coffee which also explains the ever increasing waistline while I was there.

I don’t know if I will ever get to sample these foods again short of actually making a trip back to Wisconsin but one can never know. I never thought that I would find B&J’s in KL and now I have so stranger things have happened.

Or I could always try to find the recipes on the Net and try them out when I have a proper kitchen.


azmi said...

Yum, is this your first food entry ?!! If it is, then keep coming up with 'em. You have successfully tantalized the food fetish in me. ;-p

Nickxandar said...

I'm fairly certain that I've written about food before considering how much I enjoy it ;-p

I'm planning to detail my first attempt at making dodol for Hari Raya this year if nothing changes in the plans I've made. We'll see how that goes.

AdamIsmadi said...

hey nick,

please do tell where u got ur hand on those ... divine B&J pints!!! i need a new york super chunk a.s.a.p!!!
i do agree they are the best! i wish i have enough money to open up one of their B&J ice-cream parlours here...
their brownie + ice cream is to die for! with the brownie piping hot while huge scoop of ice-cream sit happily on top! makes we want to pack my bags and move to the US just for that single reason! do tell which 7-11? its way much cheaper than relocating my life...

Nickxandar said...

Adam ..

Check out your local 7-11. I think that they might have it in all locations as I found them in a different one from my usual. If they don't drop me an email to my hotmail account.